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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Local Restaurant Sees Slowdown Amid Illness Fears

Gwendolyn Glenn


The spread of the coronavirus is affecting the global economy and some economists are even bringing up the possibility of the "R" word — recession. Service-industry businesses such as restaurants — where face-to-face contact is required — are being hit especially hard because some people are opting to stay away.

According to officials with the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, many restaurant owners statewide report that they have more empty tables than usual.

Art Cornielle is the owner of Ciro’s Italian restaurant on the Boardwalk at University City in north Charlotte.

"We’ve definitely seen some softening on business," Cornielle said. "Traffic isn’t as heavy as we’ve seen or corporate reservations we’ve had, some have totally cancelled and some have pushed it months ahead."

Cornielle said he had one group of 25 and another group of 15 cancel recently. One person who canceled said that international business travel has been curtailed. 

"The meetings they were going to have here are being done by conference call," Cornielle said. "They’re just not traveling to be on the safe side, I guess."

Regular lunch and dinner business has remained constant at Ciro's, but Cornielle admitted he's still worried about the future of his Italian restaurant.

"I am; I definitely am," he said.


Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.